All Hail Queen Alina

Bow down and worship Alina Popa!

Alina Popa is the GOAT.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the lingo the kids are using these days, “GOAT” is not an insult. It’s not what Charlie Brown feared he would be if he were to give up the losing run at the end of his playground baseball game. It’s not an animal. It’s not one of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. No. GOAT stands for Greatest of All Time. It’s the highest compliment one can bestow upon a person. It’s a high honor.

Miss Popa is the GOAT. Or a GOAT. Or one of the GOATs. Or in the top 5. Or top 10. We can’t all agree where she ranks among the greatest female bodybuilders in the history of the sport, but for the time being most of us should be able to recognize that Alina is one the best of the best of the best of the best.

For many reasons, Alina has captured our hearts and imaginations. She’s beloved. She boasts near universal adoration. Everyone loves and respects her. If you were to take a straw poll of one thousand female muscle fans worldwide and ask them who their favorite FBB currently is, I’d wager a guess that more than 80% would have Alina somewhere in their top 5. If she’s not in their top 10, then they’ve lost all credibility as far as I’m concerned. If they’ve never even heard of her, then I don’t know if it’s fair to call them a female muscle fan in the first place.

Alina’s appeal is fascinating to break down. She doesn’t have the crossover appeal of Cindy Landolt, yet she’s probably more beloved than she is. Alina doesn’t participate in sexually explicit pornography like Denise Masino or Brandi Mae Akers, yet she’s still considered unbelievably sexy. She isn’t as prominent on social media as Lauren Drain, but Alina is heads and shoulders more popular than Miss Drain will ever be. That isn’t to insult Miss Landolt, Miss Masino, Miss Akers, or Miss Drain – but rather to point out the impressiveness of Miss Popa’s popularity.

But it isn’t just about popularity. It’s emotional appeal. Alina makes us feel things. Intense things. Intense thoughts, feelings, and fantasies. One does not simply look at a picture of Alina flexing her large muscles and not experience a rise in blood pressure. Unless one is already in a vegetative state. Heck, looking at Alina’s body of work may very well put you in a vegetative state. And you probably wouldn’t complain too loudly when that happens.

She is a unique lady. She’s a one-of-a-kind. Her appeal is both obvious and not obvious at the same time. Alina is the GOAT, but she’s more than that. She’s a queen. No, rather she’s THE Queen. The Queen of Female Bodybuilding.

Alina Popa was born on October 12, 1978 in Brăila, Romania. Like many female bodybuilders, she led a fairly active lifestyle, having competed in track and field sports since she was 12 years old. In her late teens and early 20s, Alina became a regular gymgoer and started to do what guys always do at the gym but some ladies are reluctant to: lift weights.

In 2000, she placed 2nd in a local regional contest, which probably boosted her confidence and gave her the “hunger” to compete in more. That obviously set off a firestorm. The rest of her impressive résumé is as follows:

  • 2000 IFBB National Championship – 3rd (HW)
  • 2003 IFBB National Championship – 1st (MW)
  • 2004 IFBB European Championship – 2nd (HW)
  • 2005 Mixed Pairs European Championship – 2nd
  • 2005 Women’s European Championship – 5th
  • 2006 Grand Prix Due Torri – 1st
  • 2007 NABBA Miss Universe – 1st (Miss Physique class)
  • 2008 IFBB Worlds Santa Susanna – 1st (Overall and HW)
  • 2010 IFBB Ms. International – 8th
  • 2011 IFBB Ms. International – 3rd
  • 2011 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 5th
  • 2012 IFBB Ms. International – 3rd
  • 2012 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 4th
  • 2013 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 2nd
  • 2014 IFBB Ms. Olympia – 2nd
  • 2016 WOS Rising Phoenix World Championships – 3rd
  • 2018 IFBB Muscle Vodka Tampa Pro – 1st
  • 2018 Rising Phoenix World Championships – 1st

There’s no need to rehash the controversy in 2014 when Alina placed 2nd to Iris Kyle in the final Ms. Olympia contest. Alina placed 2nd the previous year and every prognosticator thought this would be the year the seemingly unstoppable Miss Kyle would be unseated. Alas, that did not happen. Iris won her 17th overall IFBB professional title, an eyepopping achievement that deserves considerable recognition. But in the hearts and minds of FBB fans everywhere, Alina deserved to place 1st at least once while the Ms. Olympia still existed. She may not have persuaded enough judges to earn that crown, but she’s definitely earned our awe and admiration. We understand that one’s accomplishments are not always defined by others.

So as far as professional competitions go, Alina may not technically be the GOAT, but she’s nevertheless one of the greatest to ever have stepped onto the stage. But for those of us who don’t need external validation for the things we love, we can live with that. Others who crave that validation are probably still bitter to this day.

Alina is a Queen because she’s everything you could possibly ask for in a female bodybuilder. She has it all: Brains, beauty, brawn, charm, and grace. She’s beautiful, yet approachable. She’s accomplished, yet humble. She’s tough, yet kind. She’s relentless, yet grounded. She’s glamourous, yet authentic. She’s strong, yet compassionate. She’s muscular, yet still unquestionably feminine. She’s big, yet curvy. She’s confident, yet amicable. She’s a woman, yet she doesn’t let her gender define her.

Her body is flawless. Some may have been disappointed when she decided to get breast implants, but that is neither here nor there. She can choose to enhance herself if it makes her happy. Alina has achieved the near impossible: She appeals to female muscle fans across the entire spectrum. She appeases those who love big, big, big muscles. She also appeases the folks on the other side of the aisle who value traditional femininity and are turned off by FBBs who exhibit too many “masculine” qualities. There’s nothing masculine about Miss Popa. She’s as feminine as can be.

When the sport of female bodybuilding rose to prominence in the 1970s, there was a stigma attached to women who were so bulky it (supposedly) compromised their “femininity.” As a result, many female competitors intentionally chose to not get too big out of fear it would damage their ability to win contests. That’s bad news. So praising Alina’s uncanny ability to perfectly balance femininity and muscularity is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s the reason why she’s so beloved by female muscle fans around the world. On the other hand, it feeds into the perception that female bodybuilders are somehow obligated to also look feminine because not looking sufficiently feminine can be detrimental to their success.

Hm. This is an awkward place to be. It’s discouraging to praise ladies like Alina, Cindy, and Minna Pajulahti for their femininity and strength because – even if it’s implicitly implied – it reinforces the belief that women who are not like them are somehow inferior. Jennifer Kennedy and Kathy Connors are not inferior. They’re also awesome and deserving of respect. They may not get the same universal adoration as the previous group, but they are still worthy of our undying love. It’s much easier to defend Cindy Landolt than it is Miss Kennedy, a fact that begrudgingly acknowledges the reality that traditional femininity still matters to a great deal of people.

FBBs like Miss Kennedy have deep voices, masculine-looking faces, and a “roughness” about them that makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable. One cannot deny that, even though one can also argue that these features do not chip away at her identity as a strong sexy woman. Alina’s presence is a breath of fresh air because she checks every box a female muscle fan could ask for, in addition to not having to carry much of the baggage typically associated with muscular women.

There isn’t a whole lot you can criticize about Alina. But we think of her as a Queen not just because of her crossover appeal, flawless beauty, perfect balance between muscularity and femininity, and considerable professional accomplishments. She’s earned her Queen Status because she makes us feel things very few other women – muscular or not – can also conjure up.

One of her most famous talents is the ability to isolate her muscles and bounce them on command. It makes us swoon faster than a pack of teen girls at an Elvis concert circa 1956. She can wiggle her glutes, bounce her pecs, and make her quads dance as if it were a cast member of Soul Train. Her muscle control is a sight to behold. It takes your breath away. Your eyes are peeled to the screen as you watch her show off her skills. It’s a shocking reminder of how in control she is of her body. She doesn’t just spend hours a day at the gym building her body – she owns her body. It doesn’t own her. She knows her physical self better than most of us think is even possible. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Watching Alina control her muscles – and knowing that we can never do that no matter how hard we try – makes us appreciate her that much more. She’s a Queen because she controls her domain with an iron fist. She’s a Queen because she doesn’t let anybody stand in her way. She’s a Queen because she does what she wants, looks the way she wants, and pursues her dreams with reckless abandon.

For the longest time Alina chose not to get breast implants. Then, she went under the knife in 2017 and looks great as a result. Does she look better? Yeah, but once again this is a tricky area. That isn’t to imply that she looked inferior before. She looked stunning before surgery and she still looks stunning today. Personally, I am not super picky about whether or not an FBB chooses to get breast implants. I love strong flat chested beauties as much as I love strong enhanced beauties. Fans may bicker and argue amongst themselves, but you’ll find no quarrel with me.

Whenever I scroll through photos and videos of Miss Popa I’m reminded of the famous quote from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when Romeo remarks “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” Likewise, before Alina, true beauty did not exist. You’ve never actually seen a truly breathtaking woman until you witnessed Alina in action. Watching her strut toward the camera, flex her quads, and give the viewer a sweet but naughty smile is enough to give us cardiac arrest. But more than that, it’s sort of like a spiritual experience. Your brain realizes it’s seeing something that’s different from what it’s seen before. It’s difficult to explain, but universally understood by those who’ve experienced it.

Watching Alina is like being touched by the hand of divinity. You notice every muscle fiber, every curve, every fine detail of her immaculate body and wonder how a human being could possibly look that way. It’s as though every “traditionally beautiful” woman you’ve ever seen don’t matter anymore. Like Romeo, Shakespeare’s famous male protagonist thought he’d seen it all. He thought he knew what a beautiful woman looked like. Then, he saw Juliet. And his whole world came to a crashing halt. His paradigm shifted. His perspective changed forever. What he thought he knew he immediately threw away into the trash can.

He knew nothing. And now he knows everything.

In similar fashion, we thought the “perfect woman” would look like Marilyn Monroe or Pamela Anderson or Trish Stratus or Megan Fox. Little did we know that our standards were way too low. Heck, our standards weren’t even in the right curriculum. Alina Popa dominates them all. She vanquishes her enemies like Alexander the Great marching through Persia. She redefines beauty, or even transcends the word “beauty.” Yes, that’s more like it. She transcends all conventional wisdom.

Alina transcends the sport of bodybuilding. She’s bigger than it – metaphorically speaking. She’s in her own class. She may not be the most accomplished or legendary or historically noteworthy, but she’s loved by everyone who knows her or knows of her. There’s also something strangely pure about her. She rarely does nudity (only a few photos of her topless exist) and she never does any kind of porn. That isn’t to demean any FBB who does go down that path, of course. But in Alina’s case, it works to her advantage. She’s sexy, but not in a naughty kind of way. She’s sexy in a way that isn’t wholesome (this isn’t the Disney Channel), but it’s not gratuitous either. Her sexiness is more charming than sinful.

If this seems like a series of rambling observations, that’s because it’s impossible to succinctly explain why Alina Popa is so amazing. All one can do is talk endlessly about why one loves her. It doesn’t make sense. It’s not rational. It’s unambiguous, yet not easy to describe.

In short, Alina Popa is a Queen because she exhibits one characteristic that very few beautiful women can match: Control.

Her muscle control is one thing. Her control over our hearts and minds is another. She controls us. Her beauty, brains, personality, aura, and ethereal nature have us in the palm of her callused hand. She can do the most mundane activity and make us go crazy. She can walk down a hallway wearing heels. She can bake bread. She can sit on a couch and watch TV. She can lie down on a bed and simply look up at the camera and smile. She can just stand there wearing a bikini and not say a single word. Alina can do anything and still make us go gaga over her. She doesn’t have to try to be sexy. She just is. Whether she’s wearing sweatpants or an elegant dress or a sparkly bikini, Alina appeals to us no matter what.

Come to think of it, she’s the most minimalistic female bodybuilder in the world. She’s simple. She doesn’t need to put too much effort into being sexually appetizing. She simply is…all because she busts her butt at the gym day-in and day-out. She makes immense sacrifices to look the way she looks. She puts in more work in a single day than most of us do in a month. And she does this because she wants to. It empowers her. It inspires her. It’s motivates her to get out of bed every morning. It’s her raison d’être. And we are grateful for her for making these tough decisions.

I believe Alina once told a story on Instagram about how her Romanian mother at first didn’t approve of her daughter becoming a female bodybuilder because Romanian girls are supposed to be “narrow and skinny.” But once Alina started winning trophies and accolades, her mother fortunately altered her opinion. Alina breaks stereotypes. She challenges what you thought you knew about female bodybuilders. And she does it with the cutest smile on her face.

Her muscle control mirrors her emotional control over her fans. Female bodybuilders are often described as being either “queens” or “goddesses.” A goddess is a deity who’s powerful but remains fairly detached from human civilization. A queen is also powerful but directly rules over her kingdom. A True Queen looks after her people with kindness, benevolence, and sternness. She’s authoritative, but not oppressive. A True Queen earns the trust of her people, as opposed to ruling over them through fear. A True Queen’s legitimacy comes from a place of love, not malice.

Alina Popa is loved. That is why she’s a Queen. Not because she says she’s a Queen, but because we say she’s a Queen. Because we want her to be our Queen. She’s a democratically elected Muscle Queen, not one imposed upon us by a third party. See the difference?

All hail Queen Alina!

Advertisements

She Belongs in a Museum

Rachelle Carter belongs in a museum.

Female bodybuilders are both athletes and artists. Personally, I consider them to be more artists than athletes, but that’s just me. Of course, that isn’t to minimize their athletic prowess or their belonging in the world of competitive sports. It’s more of a reflection of how I perceive their modus operandi.

They build their bodies to look a certain way. They lift, eat, hydrate, supplement, rest, and strategically plan their lives in such a way to achieve their desired look. This is why I consider them to be artists. Mozart had his symphony. Picasso had his canvases. Hemingway had his typewriter. Scorsese has his camera. Female bodybuilders have their bodies.

Their bodies are their canvases. It’s a blank slate. A sheet music with no notes. A film stock with no pictures. A chapel ceiling with no paint. A chorus with no conductor. They are in charge of their own destinies. No one will give them what they want. That’s not possible (yet). You can’t go to a plastic surgeon and ask them to give you large muscles. You can’t purchase a muscular physique on Amazon. You can’t cheat your way to the top. Yes, even with steroids. Human growth hormones won’t automatically give you large bulging muscles. You still need to put in the hard work at the gym to obtain them. And keep going back in order to maintain them. Or else they go away like winter snow when spring arrives.

She can choose to be as large as a world-class bodybuilder. Or she can be as slender as a fitness model. Either way, it’s her choice. And which reality comes to pass is entirely up to her. Using “bad genetics” as an excuse is just that. An excuse. And a bad one at that.

But I’ve already written about this. Nothing about this is new. We all know female bodybuilders are artists. We all know their bodies are art. We all know that we’re patrons of that art.

Here’s a cool fantasy I’ve thought about a lot recently. Perhaps many of you have too. Here’s what it looks like:

Imagine you’re a wealthy philanthropist. You’ve assembled hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of wealth during your eventful lifetime. It doesn’t matter how. Maybe you’re a tech CEO. Or a lucky investor. Who cares. One day, you get a brilliant idea. You want to sponsor an art exhibit at a local museum. Or better yet, open up your own museum, perhaps in a makeshift environment like an abandoned office building or factory.

But you don’t want to showcase paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, or multimedia installations. No, that’s too old school. Too basic. Too…mundane. Been there, done that. Yawn. Instead, you want to display human bodies. And not just any kind of human body: Human female bodies. And not just any kind of human female bodies. You want to feature muscular female bodies.

Real muscular female bodies.

In various forms of dress. And undress.

But, uh, mostly undress.

Imagine thirty or so nude female bodybuilders standing around in a large room. Women of all races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, and sizes. Some are posing. A few others are lying down. Others are dancing. One or two are masturbating. You might even catch a glimpse of two FBBs making love to each other. These ladies are standing on the ground, on a dais, on a bed, suspended above ground on wires, and so on. Some are doing explicitly sexual activities, while others are simply showing off their hard work. No matter what, you cannot help but be enthralled by what you’re witnessing. It’s not every day that you get to see this much female muscle in one central location!

Hey! No taking pictures on your phone! Unless you’re Cindy Landolt, of course.

The rules are simple: no touching, no taking pictures on your phone, and do not try to conduct a conversation with any of them. They won’t talk back. You can only look with your eyes. Drink in the moment. Experience what you need to experience. Leave a changed person.

And like most “radical” art, this exhibit is supposed to shock you. It’s provocative. Sensual. Alluring. Unforgettable. Unsubtle. In-your-face. Subversive. Erotic. Educational. And of course, unapologetically sexy. Very sexy. Almost too sexy.

Many people have seen photos of female bodybuilders in old sports magazines or TV documentaries. But few have been in the same room as one. And the experience will certainly be an eye-opener. You will not believe that such women can be real. No Photoshop or Hollywood-grade CGI are at play here. None of that. It’s all real. As real as it can get. Get used to it.

For fans of female bodybuilders, it’s a shame that our favorite ladies aren’t more prominently celebrated by our culture. They aren’t as “seen” as we’d like them to be. We love female bodybuilders but have limited opportunities to demonstrate that love. But more than that, we want FBBs to feel empowered, appreciated, and visible. They’ve worked their whole lives and made numerous sacrifices to look the way they look. One does not get hypermuscular by accident. It’s not a coincidence. You only look like that if you make a concerted effort to look like that. You have to expend blood, sweat, and tears over the course of several years to become that swollen. It takes pain – both physical and psychological – to achieve that level of muscularity. For women, it probably takes more labor and toil to get that big compared to their male counterparts. Life isn’t fair, kids.

So, it’s only fitting that they receive the chance to show off their hard work for an audience that might not necessarily want to see them. It’s one thing for a sympathetic audience to appreciate you. It’s quite another for an unexpected audience – or even one that’s pessimistic – to regard your body of work. And “body of work” should be interpreted literally, not just figuratively. The people who visit this art exhibit know theoretically what they’re getting themselves into, but they can’t truly comprehend what it’s like to see a muscular woman up-close until it actually happens.

The experience of looking at a muscular woman should be audacious. Exploitative. Daring. Bold. Offensive. It’s a powerful experience made more memorable by the fact that such sculpted women are so rare in our world. You don’t see women who look like Brigita Brezovac walking down the street every day. Heck, you may never in your life encounter a woman who looks like her. But if you are lucky enough to be able to, I can guarantee you will remember it for the rest of your existence.

One exhibit should feature Larissa Reis posing exactly like this.

Whenever I have the privilege of meeting a female bodybuilder for a muscle worship session, inevitably there’s going to be a moment during our time together when I think to myself “she belongs in a museum.” I may even tell her that. It’s a natural reaction when you’re in the throes of touching her hard, curvy body in the most appreciative and intimate manner possible. A point I’ve made before that bears repeating is the fact that for most highly accomplished people, their impressive accomplishments are not immediately obvious. For example, you could be sitting on the bus or at a coffee shop or at the library and for all you know the random person sitting next to you is a world-class violinist. Or expert astronomer. Or well-respected heart surgeon. Or once appeared as an extra in a James Bond movie or an episode of Game of Thrones. Or served in the military many years ago and came within a few inches of assassinating Osama bin Laden long before 9/11. Or someone who hosts a podcast that gets two million downloads a month. Or someone who once played the bass for a famous band during one forgettable summer concert.

Regardless, for these highly accomplished people, you can’t really tell what their accomplishments are unless you ask them. Or if they volunteer that information to you. But for a female bodybuilder – and male bodybuilders too – her accomplishments are right out in the open. It’s plain for all to see. It’s embedded onto every fiber of her body. Her artistic achievement isn’t just on her body (like a tattoo artist), but it is her body. Her body is her art. Her art is her body. And for that reason, she definitely belongs in a museum.

But more than that, the sight of a muscular woman elicits a different emotional reaction than seeing a muscular man. By and large, our society is conditioned to not think of a muscular man as being unusual. We know that guys who look shredded like an NFL linebacker are still statistically rare, but seeing a fellow like that up close and personal isn’t something that will make you stop dead in your tracks. Seeing a muscular woman, on the other hand, will make your jaw drop to the floor. As it should.

The sight of a muscular woman makes some people feel disgusted. Or insecure. Or inadequate. Or confused. Or aroused. Or angry. Anger can be a byproduct of insecurity – or a method for disguising one’s insecurity. Seeing a muscular woman distorts our reality and causes cognitive dissonance. We are unable to process what we’re seeing precisely because we rarely ever get to see something like this. Our brains hurt because our brains are processing new information. Women are supposed to be small and dainty. Guys are supposed to be large and buff. But to see a woman with muscle mass that surpasses that of your typical gym bro dude…that visual subversion creates psychological conflict in our minds. Conflict that makes us feel strong feelings. Feelings we cannot easily explain or articulate into words.

Another features Julie Ann Kulla sitting on a bed looking exactly like this.

For misogynists who don’t like strong women – “strong” both in the physical and emotional sense – seeing a muscular woman in the flesh feels like a sledgehammer being smashed into their toxic narrowmindedness. It’s a harsh reminder that their limited understanding of the world is probably a product of their own internal self-hatred. They hate strong women because they themselves are weak, feeble, and hopeless. They’re projecting their own inadequacies onto highly accomplished women who’ve done things they can only dream of doing. Female bodybuilders challenge in the most explicit way possible the notion that women are destined to be the “weaker sex” and that men own a monopoly on strength. Men do not, as it turns out, own any such claim.

I don’t want to suggest that guys who love female bodybuilders are more enlightened, intelligent, and socially progressive than those who do not. In all seriousness, there might be a small sliver of truth to that, but overall the love of FBBs can be politically neutral. I do believe, however, that guys who love FBBs are probably less sexist and hateful than guys who are genuinely disgusted by them. But I could be wrong about that.

But let’s return to my hypothetical situation involving the female muscle museum exhibit. Imagine being a sexist loser who is forced to walk through this room full of strong ladies. Everywhere you look, there are women with bigger muscles than you. They’re happier, more powerful, and more beloved than you’ll ever be. Do you react with bitterness, or a renewed commitment to becoming a better person? I sure hope it’s the latter, not the former. In this respect, this female muscle showcase can be a much-needed wake up call. A reminder that being angry does not make you righteous. That hating someone is less an indication of who they are and more a reflection of who you are. That you can become a better person if you choose to work on who you are. That you are not destined to be a loser for the rest of your life.

Siska Bossert looking like a chiseled sculpture. Because she is!

Beautiful female bodies deserve to be seen. Female bodybuilders deserve more visibility, a larger share of the pie of our nation’s multimedia landscape. And I write this not out of a sense of self-serving fetishism, but out of a belief that muscular women can change the world. They can alter our perspectives. They can inspire us to become better people. They can force us to reevaluate our own prejudices and dedicate our lives to self-improvement.

Because female bodybuilders are beautiful. Because female bodybuilders are awe-inspiring. Because female bodybuilders have the potential to break the chains of hatred and foment the foundations of progress. Because of this, there’s no doubt that…

…she belongs in a museum.

So pay your ticket, stand in line, and prepare to have your eyes, heart, and imagination opened. You might just like what you see.

The Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman

Minna Pajulahti is too hot for words.

Female bodybuilders are no strangers to the hurtful accusation that they’re not actually women. That they aren’t feminine enough. That they’re turning into men or want to become men. That men aren’t going to like them because of their muscles. That “real women” don’t look like that. That they actually look like men. That they’re confused about their gender.

And so on and so forth.

These slurs are so common I’m guessing most FBBs have achieved the ability to mentally block them out. They have a filter installed in their brain that allows them to ignore stupid opinions that have no merit. At least, I hope so. I cannot imagine how dreadfully annoying it is to have your appearance mocked just because you choose to lift weights, supplement, and bulk up like any other gym bro. Or that your personal definition of “empowerment” requires you to look different than the other girls – and that not everybody is on board with that.

Because of this toxic reality, it is not surprising that many female bodybuilders have decided – whether this is intentional or not is difficult to assess – to counter these slanders by presenting themselves in explicitly feminine terms. Think of it as compensating for their lack of “traditional femininity” by acting more outwardly feminine than they normally would.

Some examples of this include:

  • Getting breast implants
  • Wearing a lot of makeup (even more than usual)
  • Wearing sexy dresses
  • Wearing stylish clothing
  • Smiling, laughing, giggling, and doing whatever she can to appear less “threatening”
  • Posting pictures on Instagram of her doing traditionally “feminine” activities like trying on new clothes, shoe shopping, kissing her boyfriend/husband, playing with dogs, playing with kids, being a “mom,” cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Promoting brands/products/stores that are traditionally aimed at women
  • Doing porn in which she has sex with men, with the man (or group of men) being in the “dominant” role and the muscular woman in the “submissive” role
  • Or doing porn where the man and muscular woman are equals
  • Choosing not to talk if her voice is too low
  • Doing photoshoots in which her face is edited to look more feminine and less hard edged
  • Avoiding talking about steroids, hormonal supplements, and anything that can be perceived as compromising her “womanhood”

It saddens me to think that female bodybuilders do these things not because they want to but because they feel like they have to. Yet, I am torn on this topic. On one hand, I am a strong believer that everybody has the right to craft their own identity to be whatever they want it to be. They shouldn’t give in to pressure to conform, fit in, or go with the flow. On the other hand, if being “traditionally feminine” is what they genuinely want to do, then nothing should stop them from being that. It’s a tough line to draw in the sand because I do not know what every FBB is thinking and feeling.

Don’t mess with Jayne Trcka. She has handcuffs!

Maybe some FBBs actually enjoy doing activities that are considered “feminine.” Or maybe they do it because they don’t want to alienate anybody. Or, like I said before, they want to appear less “threatening,” as if the sight of a woman with big muscles is somehow considered inherently threatening. Threatening to whom, exactly?

The Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman is a fascinating case study. What do we think of her? Is she compromising her identity by pretending to be something she isn’t, or is that who she really is?

At the end of the day, we don’t really know. But I do know this phenomenon does exist. For example, I can’t recall where I saw this but I remember reading an Instagram post in which Minna Pajulahti says she sometimes acts overtly feminine because she doesn’t want people to think of female bodybuilders as not being real women. That’s paraphrasing her rationale, unfortunately. So she does things like deadlift a crazy amount of weight, drop the bar to the floor, and strike a Beyoncé-like pose at the end as the “kicker.” Why dance around and strike diva poses? Because it reinforces her femininity, which apparently gets compromised when she’s deadlifting, squatting, bench pressing, and lift a ton of weight.

I am not criticizing Minna, of course. I love her and would never do that! But I will acknowledge that I think it’s a bit sad that she feels the need to do this. Not tragic, but mildly sad. Being strong doesn’t mean she isn’t feminine. Doing masculine-labeled activities does not mean she isn’t feminine. Having a nontraditional physique does not mean she isn’t feminine. All of that is complete and utter bullshit.

Minna Pajulahti is a feminine woman. So is Victoria Dominguez. And Kathy Connors. And Jennifer Kennedy. And Gillian Kovack. And Rene Campbell. And Wanda Moore. And Lauren Powers. And Rhonda Lee Quaresma. And Dena Westerfield. And many, many others.

What do all these beautiful women have in common? They’ve all had their feminine identities questioned. Or challenged. Or denied. I’ve seen them labeled “trannies” or “dykes” and other idiotic slurs. The stupidity of people who feel compelled to insult and troll innocent people is boundless. But that is the world we live in today.

Rene Campbell isn’t here for your rude comments.

What makes the existence of the Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman so frustrating is that we don’t know if it’s genuine or not. Are they acting overtly feminine because that’s who they truly are or because that’s how they think society wants them to be? To segment that last part even further, do they act aggressively feminine because they want to be accepted by society (whatever that means) or because they feel the need to overcompensate? The negative stereotypes that surround female bodybuilders are real, hurtful, and pervasive. Perhaps some FBBs feel compelled to dispel these perceptions by acting way more feminine than they’d normally want to. Either way, it’s sad.

It’s sad because I don’t want any muscular woman to act differently just because they want to please others. That’s heartbreaking. I want female bodybuilders to be who they are and not apologize for it. If being traditionally feminine is who they are, so be it. If they feel more comfortable being “butch” or androgynous, so be it. If acting and appearing more masculine is what floats their boat, so be it. Regardless, I just want every FBB to feel at home in their own skin. Whatever that entails.

But I don’t want to dismiss the fact that outside perceptions do matter, even if we don’t want them to. As individuals, we do have to conform to certain social standards if we want to fit in. At least, whenever we’re in public. Especially in the professional world. Being viewed as a scary butch devil lady may be fun as an online persona, but it’s not going to help you land any customer service jobs. Many FBBs are also personal trainers. They can’t appear too intimidating if they want to gain new clients.

There’s also the moral obligation to consider on top of this. When female bodybuilders choose to act and look “hyperfeminine,” are they actually doing harm to femininity without realizing it? For example, we tend to hold narrow views of what masculinity and femininity look like. It shouldn’t take a Gillette ad campaign to tell us that. Shouldn’t FBBs act however they want to act as a statement that “feminine” can be a much larger tent than it currently is? This could also challenge whether or not “masculinity” and “femininity” are real things. Or to what extent we’re allowed to box in people in these categories.

Roxanne Edwards slaying the bodybuilding stage.

It’s unfair to demand that every popular female bodybuilder is obliged to be an ambassador for female bodybuilders everywhere. They are not symbols. They are individuals. Yet, this obligation is unavoidable. Every time an FBB makes an appearance on TV or in a mainstream Hollywood movie, they represent FBBs as a whole – whether they want to or not. Jayne Trcka appeared in Scary Movie (2000) as the comically androgynous gym teacher Miss Mann. She was great in it, even though I cringe watching her scene. It plays for laughs every single negative stereotype you can imagine regarding muscular women. It reinforces the perceptions that women like Cindy Landolt and Aspen Rae shatter with every new Instagram post. Yet, they aren’t invited to appear in movies or TV shows.

But I am not criticizing Jayne. She’s awesome. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, and kind. She isn’t traditionally feminine, but there’s no doubt she’s a woman. She’s a 100% woman. She doesn’t have a secret penis tucked between her legs. And I totally understand why she took that role. You don’t say “no” to a mainstream Hollywood gig. Unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio or Margot Robbie and you have studios begging you to be in their movie, most working actors have to accept whatever job is available to them. So I don’t begrudge Jayne one bit. I don’t blame her. And I hope none of you do either.

Therefore, Hyperfeminine Muscular Women are caught between a rock and a hard place. They’re damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Female bodybuilders who make absolutely no attempt to act more feminine are also making a difficult choice. They’re also stuck in a Catch-22. But at the end of the day, all this boils down to us. Whether we choose to accept a muscular woman for who she is depends entirely on us. Not her. We choose to embrace her butchness if that’s the road she’s chosen to traverse. We also choose to deny her femininity if she doesn’t uphold our personal standards of what femininity means. It’s a choice. A personal choice. We can either love her for who she is…or not.

Personally, I’ve never questioned the gender identity of any female bodybuilder. Even the ones who are the most masculine presenting. The ones with the deep voice, shrunken breasts, abrasive personality, large muscles, masculine facial features, and large bulge in their panties. They are women, even if 99% of us don’t acknowledge it. They aren’t tearing down femininity; they’re redefining it. Or expanding it. Or challenging us to rethink how we define gender as it is.

The truth is that the “Hyperfeminine Muscular Woman” persona is a performance. The Traditionally Feminine Muscular Woman isn’t. Most likely, an FBB who acts really, really, really, really feminine is putting on a show. She’s intentionally playing a part. She’s an actor and all the world’s a stage. And we are the audience, even if some of us are throwing popcorn at the performers like low-life jerks.

Or do you prefer someone as unquestionably feminine as Courtney Tillia?

This makes me sad. As it should all of you who sympathize with these ladies. When push comes to shove, I want every FBB in the world to feel comfortable in their own skin. I want them to embrace themselves. After all, how can anyone love you if you can’t even love yourself? I want every FBB to wake up each morning, look themselves in the mirror, and say to their reflection “Damn, I look good!” I want these ladies to take joy in looking the way they look, regardless of what anyone else says.

If they feel beautiful with a butch haircut, tattoos, and piercings everywhere, I support that.

If they feel beautiful with long flowy hair, glowing skin, and pouty red lips, I support that.

If they feel beautiful wearing makeup, I support that.

If they feel beautiful wearing no makeup, I support that.

If they feel beautiful slaying in a sexy red cocktail dress, I support that.

If they feel beautiful wearing sweatpants and a hoodie, I support that.

If they feel beautiful acting flamboyantly sexy, I support that.

If they feel beautiful acting quiet, humble, and lowkey, I support that.

If they feel beautiful with big bulging muscles, I support that.

If they feel beautiful with smaller curvier muscles, I support that.

If they feel beautiful playing the “tough girl” role, I support that.

If they feel beautiful playing the “nice girl” role, I support that.

Hopefully, you get my point. I want every muscular woman to feel empowered to be who they are. I wish every FBB can one day figure out who they truly are. Not everyone reaches that point of self-realization. This conversation shouldn’t have anything to do with haters, critics, or trolls. They can go to Hell. Instead, this should be more focused on what muscular women want out of their lives. Do they want to change the world, or do they just want to change themselves? It doesn’t matter as long as they eventually find the path they want to walk down.

And once they reach the end of that path, nothing should stand in their way. Not the haters, not anyone. Because it doesn’t matter what anyone says. When a female bodybuilder is at the peak of her powers, she isn’t listening to what the outside world thinks of her. She’s only celebrating her accomplishments, her goals, her dreams, her life. She’s at her most beautiful when she’s doing this one simple thing:

Being herself.

Yvette Bova: A Guilty Pleasure

She’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but she’s definitely mine.

She isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Heck, she might even convert you to drink coffee instead.

It wouldn’t be fair to call her “polarizing,” mostly because female muscle fans tend to be pretty open minded about the muscular ladies we love – which isn’t to say that we don’t have our personal favorites. But she definitely has her fans…and people who aren’t her fans.

Yvette Bova is a one-of-a-kind. What one person loves about her someone else may find repulsive. And this isn’t a case of “either you get her or you don’t.” Instead, this is a case of either Yvette appeals to you or she doesn’t. She’s larger than life – both physically and metaphorically. She refuses to apologize for who she is and embraces her uniqueness.

Perhaps that’s the best way to describe Miss Bova: Unique.

Even within the relatively small world of female bodybuilders, Yvette stands out. She isn’t the most accomplished or famous FBB around, but you know her when you see her. She’s a self-made entrepreneur (and not in an annoying Silicon Valley kind of way) who understands what’s appealing about her and does whatever she can to benefit from it. There’s a lot to admire about that approach to life.

Yvette Bova was born on April 6, 1962 in Junction City, Kansas. She grew up in Denver, served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 13 years, and currently resides in Las Vegas. After leaving the armed forces, Yvette competed in several bodybuilding competitions from 1996 to 2006 as both a Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight competitor. Her accomplishments on the stage are modest, but it’s not in the sport itself where Yvette made her name.

It was in the world of adult entertainment.

Starting in 2002, Yvette says she was approached by a porn producer at a gym in Los Angeles – which is probably the most L.A. thing to ever have happened in the history of L.A. – and asked to participate in a porn scene. After doing some “soul searching” for several days, she agreed to his request and did the scene. Chances are there was nothing memorable about this particular scene, but it did spark inside Yvette’s mind the idea that she can make money off of her unique physique.

She’s a strong, confident, sexually liberated black woman who decided to take charge of her life. This definitely counts for something! But she didn’t become this way by waving trendy slogans around or using the right hashtags. She did this by taking action, refusing to bow down to societal pressure, and overcoming any obstacles that came her way. That’s real strength.

Yvette’s original website flamed out because the person she was working with was being difficult (pro tip: never allow your company’s website to be controlled by anyone who isn’t you). Learning from this unfortunate experience, Yvette launched a brand new website and multimedia business known as Club Yvette. Her video production company is YB Entertained Productions, a company she owns and operates. Today, Yvette is a self-made businesswoman who spends her time and energy celebrating the sexy side of female bodybuilders. She loves what she’s doing and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Her videos are mostly about her, but she’s perfectly fine featuring other muscular ladies as well.

Miss Bova may be unique, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have peers.

At first glance, it’s easy to make a direct comparison between Yvette Bova and Kathy Connors, the Devilishly Sexy Muscle Siren. It makes perfect sense. There are a lot of similarities between the two:

  • Both women are not what you would call “traditionally beautiful.” Yet, they’ve transformed themselves into Unbelievably Sexy Muscle Goddesses through hard work, dedication, and sheer willpower.
  • Both women have their detractors, but none of that matters because they’ve come to embrace who they are and don’t pretend to be someone they’re not.
  • Both women are open about their sexualities and happily exploit it for financial gain.
  • Both women are perfectly cognizant of the fetishistic side of female muscle fandom and do not hesitate to capitalize off it.
  • Both women understand their niche audiences and do whatever they can to please them.
  • And finally, both women refuse to apologize for who they are, what they do, and why they do it. They’re confident, bold, empowered, and strategically placed for success.

Yvette – and Kathy as well – has carved out a nice little space for herself on the Internet. Yvette has assets that many people in this world find appealing: Big muscles, comically large breasts, an uncompromisingly sexy attitude, and a willingness to showcase her body and sexuality for leering eyes. There aren’t a whole lot of things she isn’t willing to do for the camera. She’ll participate in a “gang bang” with multiple guys. She’ll do scenes with women. She’ll masturbate. She’ll do BDSM scenes. She’ll have sex with a diverse group of men: old men, young men, skinny men, muscular men, ugly men, handsome men, white men, black men, men who are well endowed, men who aren’t well endowed, and so on. She loves having sex, in case you haven’t noticed! But more than that, she enjoys delivering what her fans crave.

This is part of her genius. If you love Yvette, you can watch her videos and easily imagine yourself in them as well. She has sex with good looking studs, but also gets freaky in the sheets with “average Joes” too. That works to her benefit. As viewers, we can vicariously place ourselves into the video because we see that she loves getting it on with many different types of men: both men who look like us and men who don’t look like us. Because of this, we can seamlessly fantasize about being with her because her “standards” aren’t so high that we aren’t able to meet them.

For example, in one video Yvette will have sex with a guy with a 8-inch long penis and enjoy every minute of it. However, before we start to feel too insecure about ourselves, in the next video she has sex with a more normally endowed guy and still seems to enjoy it. Yes, it’s all an act for the camera, but for the sake of vicarious entertainment it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we love Yvette because she’s a pure Sex Kitten. She loves sex and doesn’t really care who she has it with. Just as long as a dick is inside her, she’s as happy as can be.

This is a complete contrast from Denise Masino. As noted in an earlier blog article, Denise rarely has sex with men in her videos (and if one exists, I’m yet to find it). This tactic also works to her advantage because the lack of a screen partner makes it easier for us to imagine us being her partner. That’s why people get upset when their celebrity crush gets married or announces they have a boyfriend/girlfriend. The fantasy of being with them is ruined. We understand that we have no chance in Hell of actually being with them, but that’s not why we’re upset. We’re disappointed because the fun has been drained out of the fantasy. The image of them kissing and cuddling an actual human being destroys the superfluous façade we’ve cultivated in our minds.

However, Yvette takes the complete opposite approach of Denise, yet they both achieve the same result. Denise doesn’t have sex with any men. Yvette has sex with every kind of man. Either way, we are still able to imagine ourselves getting it on with both of them. In Denise’s case, we can mentally situate ourselves as her missing partner. In Yvette’s case, we feel empowered knowing that no matter who we are, she will embrace us with open arms. In other words, if Yvette is willing to have sex with a fat, old, balding man with a normal-sized penis…so can I!

The major difference between Yvette and Denise is that Yvette is less interested in being sexy and more interested in, well, having sex. Yvette loves having sex. A lot. More than we can comprehend. Unlike Denise, Amber DeLuca, Brandi Mae Akers, Angela Salvagno, or Emery Miller, Miss Bova doesn’t care as much about building her brand as a Powerful Muscle Goddess. Instead, she wants to be known as a Sex Goddess Who Happens to Have Big Muscles. She’s more interested in showing off her skills in copulating than she is in turning up the heat around her. She doesn’t waste time with foreplay, preening, flirting, or building tension. She’d rather get the party started immediately and ignore all the pretense.

This approach doesn’t appeal to everyone, but it doesn’t have to. She embraces the “slutty” label as part of her brand. She loves pleasure, experiencing pleasure, giving pleasure, and having a good time. She loves the joys her flesh – and the flesh of her partners – can bring her. And for viewers who agree wholeheartedly, Yvette is the gift that keeps on giving.

Yvette loves to smile. She loves to laugh. She loves to experience orgasms. She loves to bring her partners to orgasm. She’s tireless in her pursuit of pleasurable experiences. She’s a pure hedonist. She loves to have fun.

She isn’t scary, intimidating, or mysterious. Nothing about her is a mystery. She’s transparent about what she enjoys and what motivates her when she wakes up every morning. Amber DeLuca, on the other hand, is widely recognized as a powerful muscle mistress who will dominate you without mercy. Yvette doesn’t want to do that. She’d rather be a fun-loving gal who will bend over and take it from you with more enthusiasm than you’d think is possible.

What’s jarring is that Yvette doesn’t always “act” like a typical female bodybuilder. In her videos, she’s often in a submissive role in relation to her screen partners. Whether she’s on her knees giving blow jobs to a group of guys or getting pounded from behind by a handsome muscle stud while moaning in pleasure/pain, Yvette doesn’t portray herself as a Dominant Muscle Siren nearly as often as one would expect. Or, she’s seen as an equal to her partner – who isn’t always muscular like she is. Regardless, despite her considerable muscle mass Yvette isn’t afraid to play the role of the submissive one. She isn’t always in control. She allows her partners to control what happens in the bedroom. And this is quite unusual for anyone who watches a lot of female muscle videos (we can all raise our hands on that one).

Despite her status as a strong muscular liberated black woman, she still willingly plays the role of the subservient partner who passively goes along with whatever happens to her. It’s very strange to witness. Is this a strategic choice or an odd coincidence that shouldn’t be thought about too deeply?

I’m willing to bet this provides valuable insight into her worldview. She isn’t concerned with power dynamics or optics. She’s willing to allow an average-looking white man to fuck her on camera and not care about how this looks from a “woke” social justice perspective. She isn’t a postmodern feminist activist who is using the medium of pornography to “right historical wrongs” or “take back the power.” She’s instead a woman who loves to have sex and experience sex in a variety of ways. From her perspective, fun is fun. Fun shouldn’t be limited by subjective elements like appearances, politics, power dynamics, race, or social status. If she’s on top, great. If she’s on the bottom, that’s also great. No matter what, she’s enjoying every minute of it.

If what happens on screen appears to be humiliating to her, she doesn’t care about it. She’s a physically and emotionally strong woman who doesn’t give a single fuck about what society thinks. She can play the role of the submissive because she chooses to. Her videos may be politically incorrect from a feminist perspective, but she’s not here to change the world. She’s here to enjoy the pleasures of the flesh while she still has breath and entertain her beloved fans.

This is why Yvette has a following. The niche she’s found for herself is simple: Politically incorrect hedonism. I don’t know what her political/social beliefs are, but it doesn’t matter. She’s empowering herself in ways that not everyone will approve of. Many will shake their heads in disgust at the choices she makes. Yet, she pushes on, ignores the noise, and continues to live life the way she wants to. Isn’t that the very definition of “liberation?”

For that, Yvette Bova is a guilty pleasure. When you watch her videos, you cannot help but feel conflicted. She’s a female bodybuilder who doesn’t always act like a typical female bodybuilder. She does scenes that don’t always fit our expectations of what a strong muscular woman should be doing. Rian Johnson would be proud of how blatantly she seeks to subvert our expectations. Yvette is perfectly fine having “humiliating” things done to her like having semen smeared on her face or enduring the pain of a large dick penetrating her. She will bend over and let her partner(s) take control instead of the other way around. It perplexes us why she’d do this.

Yet, we must remind ourselves that Yvette has 100% creative control over the content she presents to the public. She owns the production company that produces her videos. She isn’t at the mercy of a misogynistic film producer or a tyrannical studio system. She does what she does because she wants it to be that way. On purpose.

We desperately want her to be a strong independent black woman who takes control of the men around her and reclaims the power that has been denied her ancestors (however you define that). Yet, she doesn’t always do that. She will allow a group of nameless and faceless white men have their way with her and won’t think twice about posting it on her website. The socio-political ramifications be damned. We want her to control the situation, not be handcuffed by it. But for whatever incomprehensible reason Yvette doesn’t always do what we want her to do.

So we enjoy her…and cringe while doing it. We get turned on by her…while reminding ourselves that it’s okay to be turned on by her. We tell ourselves that she’s a powerful woman in control of her environment…even if it doesn’t appear so on the surface.

Naturally, Yvette is unique in other ways. She’s larger than life. She’s a comic book character conceived from the dark recesses of a female muscle fetishist’s imagination. Unlike Nataliya Kuznetsova, Yvette’s muscle mass is impressive but not eye-popping. What is remarkable about her appearance are her enormous breast implants that seem too large to be real. Does she get back pain from carrying around that much weight on her chest?

If you’re a “boob guy,” Yvette is your lady. She obviously has no qualms about going further than most women are willing to go. Everything about her is full throttle. Pedal to the metal. An 11 out of 10. Amped up. Excessive. Bold. Subversive. Provocative. She doesn’t hold back. She isn’t afraid to “go there” and put herself in situations many of us would find uncomfortable.

She’s a porn star who isn’t ashamed of her body, her sexuality, her accomplishments, her desires, her preferences, and her art. Yes, it’s a bit strange to label smutty porn as “art,” but it is nevertheless. It’s not artfully produced, but it does make a bold statement. Her videos say “this is who I am and if you don’t like it you can leave and go somewhere else.”

Her videos also say “however, if you do like it then you are welcomed to stay and enjoy the ride!”

Her appearance can be grotesque, even to the most compassionate female muscle fan. But that’s part of her charm. She knows many people will stumble upon her videos and leave disparaging comments. She knows ignorant trolls will say she “looks like a man” or “women shouldn’t look like that” or “nobody wants to see that!” She ignores that and soldiers on anyway. She understands not everyone will embrace her, but the small number of people who do are in for a treat.

Yvette doesn’t try to be classy. She doesn’t seek your approval. Her brand is trashy and that’s the way she likes it. She produces smut that titillates our senses, not high art that stimulates our brains. She’s that b-level horror movie you giddily snuck into as a teenager. You promised your parents you’re seeing The Poseidon Adventure when you’re actually going to watch Pink Flamingos. She’s a human exploitation film, a delight on screen that you know you shouldn’t enjoy but do anyway. She’s pure smut. You feel dirty after watching her in action. And we love her for it.

Enjoying Yvette’s exploits is like being entertained by a badly dubbed 1970s Hong Kong action movie or laughing at an offensive comedian’s bad jokes. You know you shouldn’t. You know it’s bad for you. You know it’s not socially acceptable. You know there are a million rational reasons why you should walk away and go to your local church to confess your sins. But you don’t. You sit there and smile at what you see unfold before you.

Heck, even the most hardcore female muscle fan may feel apprehensive about admitting that they like Yvette. You may say to yourself “I respect her, but she ain’t my style” while proceeding to jerk off while thinking about plowing your face into her enormous pillows. You may feel ashamed afterward and immediately delete your browsing history, but when the time comes around again you’ll happily repeat the shenanigans.

That’s the very definition of a guilty pleasure!

Yvette Bova isn’t my favorite FBB or even in my top 10. But I have a lot of respect for her. Seriously. She’s a smart businesswoman who has taken control of her destiny. She’s intelligently carved out a small group of fans and has given them exactly what they want repeatedly throughout the years. Like Denise Masino and Amber DeLuca, Yvette understands why certain guys love female bodybuilders and produces content that satisfies their fetishes. Yvette wasn’t born with the same natural beauty Cindy Landolt possesses and that’s perfectly okay. She doesn’t need to be considered conventionally beautiful. She can use her monstrousness to her advantage. She’s a truly Beautiful Monster who creeps us out and devilishly arouses us at the same time.

She isn’t perfect in every way, but she’s perfectly fine with who she is.

Oh, Cindy

Cindy 1

Sometimes, perfection is attainable.

It doesn’t happen often. But when it does, you notice. Big time. You don’t need to be an art connoisseur to know that Michelangelo’s painting on ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a once-in-a-millennium masterpiece. You don’t need to be an expert in music theory to agree that Beethoven’s 9th symphony is one of the greatest compositional achievements of all time. You don’t need to be an erudite dramaturg to understand that William Shakespeare’s Hamlet deserves its uniquely special place in theatre history.

There are many other examples of masterpieces in the world of art, literature, music, architecture, film, and photography. But there is one human being in particular who has achieved something that sounds rather strange when you say it out loud. And many of you should agree with me on this.

This person has achieved Human Perfection.

She’s perfect in every way. Her body, her looks, her intelligence, her personality, her accomplishments, everything and anything. She’s the perfect “bridge” female bodybuilder who pleases both the hardcore Female Muscle Fans and the non-Female Muscle Fans. She may even be able to convert a few cynical Female Muscle Haters. She’s curvy, strong, feminine, classically beautiful, independent, compassionate, relatable, charismatic, unforgettable, and instantly alluring. Once you are introduced to her, you cannot go back. She’s forever burned into your memory.

You begin to wonder what your existence was like before you discovered her: How on Earth was I able to survive without knowing she was out there? Did I really grow up thinking Megan Fox was the pinnacle of female beauty? Did I truly understand what “beauty” really was before knowing this woman had existed? Why did I spend so much of my time jerking off to Katy Perry when someone infinitely more gorgeous was just a simple Google search away?

The answers to these questions are simple: You hadn’t discovered her yet. And once you did, your paradigm shifts so drastically it makes Pangaea’s supercontinental break-up seem trivial enough to belong in a Taylor Swift album.

Who is this Mystery Woman I am cryptically referring to?

Cindy Landolt, of course!

Oh, Cindy.

Cindy, Cindy, Cindy.

You truly are a Female Muscle Fan’s dream come true. You are the physical embodiment of human perfection. When we look up “beautiful” in the dictionary, we’ll see a picture of you. That’s who you are. Beautiful in every sense of the word…and then some.

Cindy Landolt was born on January 11, 1985 in Wetzikon, Switzerland. The Swiss Muscle Goddess has always lived an active life, enjoying skiing, hiking, and mountain biking as a little girl (aren’t these typical activities of any self-respecting Swiss citizen?). She currently lives in Zurich but travels a lot, essentially making the entire world her home. Unlike many of the women we love, Cindy has never been a competitive bodybuilder. She finds such rabid competition distasteful and would rather spend her creative energy lifting up others instead of trying to defeat people.

Good for her!

At age 16 she stopped training to be a gymnast because of her considerable height. Standing at 5’10”, she’s a striking woman who is far from being a dainty ingénue. She’s a Super Woman who appropriately personifies the “Goddess” label. As a young adult Cindy embraced resistance training. Then she enrolled in the Swiss Academy of Fitness and Sports to become a qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, learning the ropes of becoming a certified nutrition, rehabilitation, strength training, weight loss, and sporting coach. In 2009 she founded her own personal training company in Zurich. Her clients are diverse in their goals, but her approach remains the same: she prioritizes growth and progress over an unhealthy hyper-focus on end results.

Cindy 2

She’s also been on the cutting edge of virtual training. People all over the world – and that is not an exaggeration – can sign up for 1:1 online training and nutrition consultations. How she finds the time to manage all her business obligations is beyond me. I’m guessing she has to be selective about who her clients are. But nevertheless, she should be commended for being so tech-savvy, forward-thinking, and proactive in knowing where the fitness industry is going and how to exploit the voids in the market.

Cindy is a flawlessly beautiful woman. She is perfect. Ed Sheeran, eat your heart out. And best yet, as I mentioned earlier she has the potential for major cross appeal of which very few of her peers can boast.

She has plenty of muscle to appease the committed fans of female bodybuilders. She is also “safe” in that she’s conventionally beautiful, curvy, and unambiguously feminine. It’s a shame that traditional femininity is somehow a necessity for obtaining mainstream appeal, but it is what it is. But as it stands today, Cindy is not actually a mainstream celebrity. She’s well-known within female muscle fandom circles and the fitness industry, but don’t expect Miss Landolt to appear on the cover of Vogue anytime soon.

Her physique defines the word “statuesque.” She looks like she was chiseled out of marble, her flesh carved out of an artist’s erotically-charged imagination. She seems too good to be true. Too beautiful to be real. Too perfect to be comprehended. But alas, she is a real human being. She does exist. In our world. She didn’t fall from Heaven. She was born of fellow human beings. She is a woman, not a Goddess. A lady, not an angel. A mortal, not a deity.

But in our feverish imaginations, she is in fact a Goddess. She defies explanation. We are addicted to her and we cannot get enough. We need our daily Cindy fix, like a junkie furiously looking for their shady supplier. Unlike “normal” beautiful women, Cindy casts a spell on us that’s difficult to articulate into words. But I’ll try.

Let’s compare Cindy Landolt to Pamela Anderson. If you grew up in the 1990s, you knew who Pamela Anderson was. If you were a pubescent boy who spent his formulative years during the height of Miss Anderson’s fame, you definitely were aware of who she was. Is Pamela Anderson a flawless woman? Well, yes and no. She’s as physically attractive as any mainstream celebrity who has ever walked this Earth. No doubt about that. She was an international superstar for a damn good reason.

However, Pamela felt very two-dimensional. She was the perfect “Fantasy Woman,” a teenage boy’s ideal wet dream. She tapped into the naughty side of our psyches, providing us the perfect avenue for exploring our newfound sexualities. The scandals she faced, the high profile failed marriages, the “leaked” sex tape; all of it helped build her up as once-in-a-generation sex kitten who defined the decade and the childhoods of millennial men everywhere. The same could be said for Carmen Electra, Cindy Margolis (remember her?), or Jennifer Lopez.

Cindy 3

Cindy, on the other hand, is more three-dimensional. She isn’t just the perfect “jack off” material. No, that’s not her at all. She’s classy. She’s mature. She’s mannered. She has standards. She values her reputation. She isn’t reckless. She’s a forward-thinker. She isn’t obsessed with being popular or going “viral.” Rather, she’s carved out a niche for herself in an industry where entrepreneurship is the name of the game. You don’t get to “break into” the fitness industry like you do Hollywood. You make your own name for yourself. It’s all on you.

“Classy” is the best way to describe Cindy. She’s never crude or rude. She’s sexy, but not dirty. There are layers to her personality. She’s beautiful on the outside, but equally beautiful on the inside. The genuinely wants to help people, an altruistic spirit that is in short supply in show business. She isn’t a “sex symbol.” She isn’t any kind of symbol. She is who she is. What we see is what we get. She isn’t trying to put on a façade for the masses. She’s a businesswoman. An athlete. A coach. An expert. A model. She’s someone we aspire to become, whether we’re male or female.

This level of classiness can sometimes annoy her fans. Cindy never does full nudity in her photoshoots. You’ll never – at least not yet – see her nipples or genitals on full display. Yes, Instagram and other social media channels prohibit that sort of thing. But she doesn’t go there even on platforms (such as her personal website) in which anything is fair game. She chooses to be sexy in an elegant manner. She intentionally doesn’t give you everything you want.

The reason she’s shied away from doing fully nudity is unknown. I’m going to guess that she doesn’t want her brand to be associated with pornography. She wants to embrace her visual beauty, but not in an X-rated kind of way. She’s more PG-13. Sensual, yes. Graphic, no.

Also, in 2013 she did something groundbreaking that split her fanbase in half. She got breast implants. Before, Cindy was all natural and allowed her breasts to shrink as a result of gaining muscle. But in the spring/summer of that year, she did the unthinkable and “enhanced” herself. Unlike Yvette Bova her new endowments aren’t comically large. They’re certainly big, but not distracting. Well, maybe a little distracting. I suppose I mean they aren’t so big they bother you. It’s all semantics.

Cindy 4

Anyway, her boob job five years ago confirmed that she’s not shy about showing off her sexual attractiveness. Whether she did it for personal or business reasons, Cindy made the decision to increase her sex appeal. Now random haters can’t really claim that she isn’t completely feminine. She’s damn muscular…and curvy in all the right places.

In addition to not doing nudity, she doesn’t do any kind of hardcore porn whatsoever. Denise Masino, Angela Salvagno, Amber DeLuca, Brandi Mae Akers, and countless others are perfectly willing to show off every square inch of their bodies. Every. Square. Inch. They don’t leave anything to the imagination. Denise is so open about showcasing her genitalia that a gynecologist can probably give her a half-decent examination just by watching one of her videos. That is, assuming this doctor can concentrate properly while watching said video.

Unlike those ladies, Cindy keeps it fairly clean. Of course, not G-rated or PG-rated by any stretch of the imagination. She’ll show off her naked butt, back, and almost everything else. Just not her full breasts and genitals. She’ll pose in a sexy bikini or sultry lingerie if she feels inclined to. Just not in her birthday suit. If she is nude, she’ll artfully cover up certain areas in order to maintain her self-imposed limitations. Will her fans ever get to “see it all?” Eh, probably not. But I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Oh, and Cindy never has sex on camera. But that’s sort of a given. It deserves to be mentioned.

In many ways, Cindy’s appeal is based on how much we love to fantasize about her. We know we have 0% chance of getting to be with her. So all we can do is imagine what she’d be like as a lover. How is she in bed? How would she act in the bedroom? Would she be on top or bottom? Would she take control or let her partner carry the reins? What does her, uh, clit look like? Is it enormous like Denise’s? Or more “normal” in size? How large is her labia? How pink is her vagina?

These are, admittedly so, creepy questions. Very creepy. But can any of you say with any integrity at all that these thoughts haven’t crossed your mind?

Didn’t think so.

The fact we don’t associate Cindy with being a smutty female bodybuilder is an intentional choice. That’s not who she is. I’m certainly not judging any FBB who does choose to do porn – but Miss Landolt prefers to keep her sex appeal modest in nature. She sure as heck isn’t shy about showing off her body – and we are all infinitely grateful for that – but she does so tastefully.

She values personal empowerment. She loves to make people feel and live better. She serves people. She genuinely wants to make the world a better place, one personal training session at a time. And if she can find time to do some modelling, so be it. That’s her way of adding more beauty to the Universe. And she succeeds at that with flying colors.

For the uninitiated, Cindy Landolt may be a revelation. A paradigm shift. An awakening. She could be the one who converts someone over to “our side.” As I mentioned before, she’s a bridge. She can live in both worlds and accomplish the nearly impossible task of pleasing both sides. It’s remarkable.

Cindy 5

In a weird way, Cindy Landolt is a very charitable woman. She’s beautiful and she loves sharing her beauty with the world. That’s a rather odd way of phrasing it, but it’s true: She’s charitable with her beauty. For her Instagram followers and millions of others who follow her elsewhere, we need our daily dose of Cindy. If we need something to brighten our day or help us unwind after a long day at the office, we can just scroll through Cindy’s IG feed and…that’ll do the trick. It’s like a medicine that can cure the blues.

We don’t typically view modeling as being an act of charity. We usually look at modeling as a means for corporations to sell more clothing, makeup, jewelry, perfume, and diet books. Within our free market capitalistic system, models add sex appeal to products in order to help them sell better. Yet, Cindy is a different matter. Obviously, she models because it helps promote her personal training business. And she probably finds it personally empowering. That’s all fine and dandy. But her modeling also serves as an act of almsgiving. A virtuous donation that helps make society a better place to live for all of us.

Her beauty isn’t just intoxicating. It isn’t just alluring. It isn’t just addicting. It’s a dose of fresh air. It’s medicinal. It’s therapeutic. It’s just what the doctor ordered!

Cindy Landolt’s beautiful face and body aren’t just art. They’re a fountain of joy. Her beautiful body truly adds color to the dark palette of our existence. She is light where there is darkness. She brings hope where there is despair. She creates joy where there is melancholy. She is a much-needed beacon of beauty in a world of ugliness.

Cindy is, simply put, perfection. In every imaginable way.

Sexy Summer Short Story #5 – It’s Getting Hot in Here

Hot in here - Lynn McCrossin

The late Lynn McCrossin. May she rest in peace.

“Enough chit chat. Let’s get down to business!”

Madeline stands up, positions herself right in front of Max, and shows him her double biceps pose. Max remains sitting on the bed, captivated by her flawless physique. She knows she’s got him mesmerized in every way possible and is enjoying every moment of it. Madeline has seen her fair share of guys for muscle worship sessions, but she never tires of the feeling of being adored, revered, and lusted after.

“So hard. So powerful,” Max observes in a trance-like state. “You’re even bigger than the last time I saw you. And you were ridiculously huge even then.” Cupping her bicep peak in the palm of his hand, Max feels his manhood swell with arousal.

“Thanks, sweetie. Good eye for detail,” she says. “In fact, I am a little bigger than I was last year. I’m trying to move up a category the next time I compete.”

By now Max has moved his hands down to feel her hardened abdomen. Madeline’s six-pack abs are more pronounced now since she plans to compete in Europe in seven weeks. As a professional female bodybuilder, Madeline has placed high in several prominent bodybuilding contests across the world – spanning the globe from the United States to Europe to Africa to Australia to Central America to Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, despite her impressive accomplishments, Madeline doesn’t make enough money doing these competitions. She has a part-time job teaching yoga to little old ladies in retirement homes, but even that doesn’t come close to paying the bills. So, she has to earn money on the side through “alternative” means.

Muscle worship and fantasy wrestling appointments are those means.

And Max – and lots of men (and occasionally women) like him – are her clients.

In Max’s case, this is his third time seeing Madeline. He first saw her five years ago when he was a nervous 19-year-old kid meeting his first ever real-life female bodybuilder. Ever since he was a little boy he’s always had a strange and unexplainable fascination with muscular women. He never could figure out why. They just turned him on more than “traditionally” beautiful women. Of course, he kept this a secret. And he’s pretty sure his mom never discovered the elicit bodybuilding magazines he had hidden underneath the bed.

So when he saw on a bodybuilding forum that Madeline – a woman he’s had a crush on for several years – was travelling to his city, he couldn’t let this opportunity go. He had to pursue this chance to meet her in-person. And he did. Then he did a second time. And now, he’s seeing her for a third time.

Usually they meet at an upscale hotel in the downtown area, but not today. Due to a major comic book convention happening this weekend, Madeline had to settle for a cheaper motel located outside the main city. Oh well. Her fans will follow her to the ends of the Earth for the chance to touch her heavenly body.

Hot in here - motel

A typical motel. Nothing fancy. Just a place to sleep.

“Your calves…my God…so dense,” Max whispers. Madeline accommodates him by raising her right leg and flexing her calf. Wearing a sexy crimson red bikini, Madeline reflects on all the guys she regularly sees. Most of them are men in their 40s and 50s. Very few are in their 30s, never mind their 20s. But alas, here’s Max enjoying the company of a woman like her. Big, tall, bulky, muscular, eye-popping, pretty, and infinitely confident. There aren’t a whole lot of women like Madeline in this world.

Max has moved on to her backside, admiring her curvy butt and broad back. He lightly pats both of her butt cheeks and she wiggles her hips for him.

“You like a woman’s ass?” Madeline asks.

“I like your ass!”

Madeline smirks and bends forward, inviting Max to further explore her glutes. He is glad to oblige.

***

Meanwhile, a motel employee is putting a large batch of bed sheets into an industry-sized dryer machine. It’s just a typically boring day at the office for her.

It’s almost lunchtime – and as any normal human being can testify to, it’s easy to mentally check out when you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and bag of Funyuns on your mind. Right now, this employee has forgotten to clean out the lint trap before putting in the new load.

Statistically speaking, it’s exceedingly rare for a piece of hot lint to catch fire and burn down a building. Rare. But not impossible.

“God, it’s hot in here. No air conditioning, no windows, no nothing,” she complains. “Fuck this. Time for lunch.”

She closes the dryer hatch, sets it to the default cycle for white linen, and walks away to the staff break room. Little did she – and every single person in this motel at this particular moment – know that a disaster of epic proportions is about to occur just a few minutes later.

***

Thirty-six minutes later, Max is sitting on the bed watching Madeline take off her bikini. He’s in awe as she exposes her breasts and genitalia to him. Her boobs are small (she’s chosen not to get implants), but her clitoris is definitely not. She’s not erect yet, but Max still cannot believe she’s that large down there.

“You’re perfect,” he begins. “An impeccable beauty.”

Madeline is accustomed to compliments and does not blink an eye.

“Thank you sweet thing. Thank you.” She approaches him and helps Max strip nude himself. First, she removes his socks. Then she pulls down his jeans after Max unbuckles his belt. Soon, both she and her client are completely naked. Madeline peers out of the corner of her eye at the bedside clock and sees she has about fifteen minutes left with him. Time to end this session on a high note.

And to give him quite a surprise!

“I’ve got a surprise for you, Max,” she says. “I really like you and you’re a great guy. Do you want to go all the way?”

Max’s eyes widen. Did he hear her right? Did she just offer what he thinks she offered him?

“Uh, yeah! I guess…are you being serious?”

Without saying a word, Madeline walks over to her luggage and takes out a box of condoms. She selects a packet, opens the foil, and returns to the bed.

“Deadly serious…”

Max silently nods his head in approval. Taking that as her cue, Madeline hops on the bed and tickles Max’s scrotum. He closes his eyes and moans. Wanting to take in every sensual moment, he lies down and allows Madeline to do whatever the hell she wants to do. Eventually, Max’s penis is completely erect, ready to enter Madeline. She dutifully rolls the latex condom onto his penis and climbs on top of him.

“Oh my…you look so sexy right now…” Max finally opens his eyes and looks at Madeline’s beautiful face. “I’ve dreamt of this moment ever since I first met you.”

Madeline slowly lowers herself onto Max’s erection. Facing him “cowgirl style,” she finally takes in his entire penis and deliberately sways back and forth. Her client groans and grabs her fists. Holding hands, Madeline rides him like a stallion until Max sniffs something unusual in the air.

“Um, do you smell that?”

Madeline stops making love to him and raises her nose. She sniffs and shakes her head.

“I have a bad sense of smell. Sorry ‘bout that,” she concedes. “However, it is getting a bit humid in here. I think I have the A/C turned on…”

She resumes making love to Max by raising and lowering her pelvis. Unfortunately, he’s distracted by the distinct odor of smoke filling the room.

“I think something’s on fire…maybe not here, but somewhere else,” he says.

“It’s getting hot in here,” she concedes. “That I can tell. That is rather strange.”

Hot in here - fire

A firefighter doing what they do best.

All of a sudden, a loud blaring noise bursts through the building. Ear-piercing and relentless, Madeline and Max immediately know what this sound signifies. It’s the fire alarm!

“Fuck! You’re right!” Madeline screams. “Something is on fire! Fuuuuuuuck!!!”

Both of them jump out of bed and run toward the door. A voice cracks across the PA system – neither Madeline nor Max knew the motel had a PA system to begin with – announcing:

“Attention guests and staff! This is not a drill. There is a fire in the building. Please leave your rooms immediately and head to the nearest exit now!”

Still naked, Madeline and Max don’t think about their nude state because their survival instincts have kicked in. They burst through the door and sprint down the hallway. A small handful of other people are doing the same. At the far side of the hallway is an emergency exit that leads to the south parking lot. A sea of desperate human beings surge through the door to escape certain doom.

White smoke fills the hallways. Nobody running saw it, but an orange glow can be seen pouring out of a door marked “Employees Only” at the opposite side of the building. The sprinkler system has activated, soaking everyone in its path.

“Run for your life!” Madeline shouts.

“Holy shit! Holy shit! Holy shit!” Max exclaims to anyone who is willing to listen.

Moments later the motel parking lot is full of a few dozen people in various states of dress. One young woman is topless. A little girl has no pants on. A middle-aged businessman is wearing only a towel, evident that he’d been taking a shower when the fire alarm started to shriek. Most of the people don’t have shoes on. The five motel employees are fully clothed of course, but that’s to be expected. Madeline and Max are the only two who are completely naked.

“My God, the whole damn building is on fire! Look!!!” a random person in the crowd yells. Sure enough, smoke is seen rising out of several windows on the west-facing side of the building. In the distance the reassuring sound of fire trucks racing to the scene can be heard by everyone present.

Now that the hysteria has died down and everyone has regained their mental bearings, everyone looks around at the crowd that has assembled in the parking lot. All eyes are on Madeline and Max.

“Mommy, look! That boy is naked!” a small boy blurts out. “Is that another boy with him? Or is that a girl…?”

Hot in here - fire truck

A firetruck.

It’s not every day you see a gorgeous nude female bodybuilder and a short nerdy nude young man standing side-by-side in plain sight. Not to mention a young man with a condom rolled on his (miraculously) still-erect penis. The frenzied life-and-death atmosphere has not dissipated his arousal, apparently. A crowd of random people have gathered near the building since the smoke can be seen for miles. Half the people are looking at the motel that’s burning to the ground…but the other half are fixated on Madeline and Max.

“Holy shit…” Max mutters under his breath. His penis has deflated considerably, with the condom hanging on the tip. “People can see us!”

Madeline, on the other hand, is enjoying the attention. She strikes a few poses, proudly showcasing her nude muscular body. A few onlookers cheer. Others have deliberately moved away to avoid participating in this “scene.”

“Don’t be embarrassed, Max! We can put on a little show before the fire department arrives!” Madeline’s side chest pose elicits a “damn girl!” reaction out of someone. One young woman looks at Max’s little penis and giggles.

The crowd disperses after four large fire trucks arrive to the parking lot. Ten minutes later everyone moves to the sidewalk as the first responders courageously do their job. Madeline impulsively picks up Max, holds him up over her head, and pauses for pictures. Several people – mostly men – take out their phones and snap a few shots of this unlikely couple. Max still feels embarrassed, but strangely…

…empowered.

A firefighter offers both of them a blanket to cover up their nude bodies. They graciously accept it. People have switched their focus away from the couple and toward the flaming building. Thankfully, the fire seems to be relatively small. It shouldn’t take too long to tame it.

Hot in here - Lindsay Mulinazzi

Can you imagine what it would be like to see Lindsay Mulinazzi dressed like this walking down a busy sidewalk?

“Still want to go all the way, darling?” Madeline whispers into Max’s ear.

“Uh, really? Now? Where can…”

Before he could finish that sentence, Madeline sweeps up Max into her strong arms and carries him to the back side of the building. She eyes a large recycling dumpster and plops him on his feet behind it. Away from prying eyes, Madeline notices the condom is still hanging off the tip of his penis.

“You still have it on. That’s cute!”

Max blushes and turns beet red. Sensing his vulnerability, Madeline kisses him and rolls the condom back on. Max feels his manhood become erect again. Then, Madeline turns around, places her hands on the wall, and bends over – exposing her moist entrance to him.

“Take me.”

Without hesitating, Max enters Madeline slowly. A soft groan escapes from her throat. Gaining confidence, he grabs her hips and moves in and out of her; leisurely at first, then more rapidly as his pleasure intensifies.

“Fuck, yeah…” Madeline moans. Max quickens his pace as his orgasm builds. Madeline bends her knees slightly to adjust to his short stature. Standing at a striking 6’ 1” barefoot, most guys are shorter than her. Especially Max. Making love doggie style can be difficult if she doesn’t lower herself to the man she’s with.

“Oh, yes!” Max growls.

He climaxes hard, sending chills throughout his whole body. Madeline doesn’t come, but she doesn’t need to. She gets enough pleasure from knowing her clients are receiving pleasure. After his spasms subside, he pulls out of her and violently turns Madeline around to face him. She’s surprised by this sudden move. He stands on his toes and kisses her. When their lips part, she kneels down and takes the condom off his deflated penis. She tosses it into the garbage dumpster and orally cleans him. After she finishes they kiss again.

Moments later, Madeline and Max walk hand-in-hand down the sidewalk in plain view of the entire city as naked as the day they were born. They cheerfully give the blanket back to a random firefighter, who is stunned at what he’s witnessing.

“What the fuck?” he exclaims.

The naked couple continues to walk away from the scene, which by now has been successfully contained. They don’t know where they’re going or if a police officer will arrest them for indecent exposure. But they don’t care. All they care about is sharing this moment together and making it last as long as they can.

We Need to Talk About Nataliya Kuznetsova

Nataliya Kuznetsova 4

This is a real human being. Seriously.

By now, you should be familiar with Nataliya Kuznetsova.

Nataliya is the kind of woman that even the most wildly imaginative female muscle fan will admit – if they’re pressed into being realistic for a hot minute – can’t ever really exist.

No woman, even with the help of all the synthetic steroids, supplements, food, weightlifting equipment, and expertise possibly available, can ever actually look like that. Whether you’ve been a bona fide female muscle fan for 40 years or 40 days, you’ve seen your fair share of muscular women. Perhaps even in-person. Yet, the rational part of your brain understands full well that no woman can ever look like her. No woman can ever have arms the size of a Mr. Olympia contestant. Or legs so thick that they resemble actual tree trunks. That’s not physically possible. It’s not scientifically possible. It’s even too absurd to draw a cartoon that looks like that.

Uh, right?

Well, you would be wrong. There is in fact one particular woman who walks on planet Earth – or is it continuously squats and bicep curls on planet Earth? – who defies your expectations of what a female bodybuilder can and cannot look like. She challenges what you previously thought was the limits of human achievement. Sure, guys who take drugs and work out like a madman with his hair on fire can become that huge. But…a woman?

No way! No how! That ain’t right!!!

Yet, it is so right. And it is possible. Her name is Nataliya Kuznetsova.

Nataliya was born on July 1, 1991 in the city of Chita, Zabaykalsky Krai in Russia. She was born just a few months before the Soviet Union officially dissolved; and although the Iron Curtain had fallen, a child had been born who would take her iron pumping quite seriously (did you see what I did there?). She has won many accolades in her life, including being the bench press and deadlift world champion. She’s also a champion armlifter, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever seen her arms.

She aspired to become a professional bodybuilder at age 14 and never looked back. In addition to breaking several records, she’s dabbled in the field of coaching and personal training – which is not uncommon for many bodybuilders, both male and female. She’s maintained a strict diet since the early days of her career, which has clearly paid dividends. After graduating from the Moscow State Academy of Physical Culture in 2013, Nataliya proceeded to pursue her dream of shattering several powerlifting records.

And put her name in the record books is exactly what she did. In 2014 and 2015 she won various contests in Russia and Europe. While it doesn’t appear that she continues to compete in powerlifting, she’s since gained international notoriety for her unusual eye-popping physique that she proudly promotes on her social media channels.

Oh boy. And she’s also not shy about her usage of anabolic steroids and estrogen blockers. I mean, it’s not humanly possible to get as huge as her without drugs. We all know that. But in her case, it isn’t really about whether or not she “fairly” achieved her musculature. What really matters is that she looks exactly how she looks – and that’s the way she wants it.

Her brand is dependent upon the final result, not the process it took to get to that final result.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 1

Muscles on the beach.

Nataliya is the Ultimate Real Human Photoshop Illusion. You’d swear that she’s not actually real. She must be the product of a female muscle growth fiction artist’s imagination. Someone must’ve artificially enhanced her arms and legs. Or, someone superimposed a male bodybuilder’s arms onto her torso, like a G.I. Joe action figure’s arms being popped inside a limbless Barbie doll.

Yet, that is not the case. She is not a character in an FMG story. Nor are photos of her not genuine (to be fair, very few Instagram and magazine photos are 100% genuine) in the proper sense of the word. Her biceps are really the size of most guys’ quads. Her quads are really as thick as your girlfriend’s torso. It’s all true. It’s definitely not all natural, but if we’re only interested in aesthetics, who cares?

And that’s the crux of the argument. Whether she could ever achieve so much muscle mass naturally – the short answer is “no way, José” – is not the point. Insecure guys who constantly insist that she’s “juicing” or “roiding up” are just projecting their own inadequacies onto a complete stranger. They’re envious that they are unable to get that “swole,” so they need to add as many caveats as possible onto Nataliya’s achievements because it, uh, makes them feel better. Or something like that. I don’t know exactly.

But that’s not really where I’m getting at. Nataliya is noteworthy because she is who she is. Whether she “cheated” or did it through unnatural means isn’t what’s truly important. What’s important is that she’s a human cartoon in the flesh. She’s a female muscle fan’s dream come true, if extreme FMG artwork happens to be your thing. It’s not for me personally, but it doesn’t have to be. I can acknowledge her importance without being totally smitten with her looks.

Personally, Nataliya is a bit too much. Everything about her is superhuman, including her lips. Dang. She makes Angelina Jolie look like the before-and-after photo at a lip enhancement surgeon’s office. I tend to prefer ladies who are both large and traditionally curvy. Alina Popa is my jam. So is Isabelle Turell. And Shannon Courtney. And Theresa Ivancik. And Lindsay Mulinazzi. And many others. I have nothing against Miss Kuznetsova as a human being. I’m sure she’s cool and pretty interesting to be around. Apparently, she’s bisexual – which will make any FMG artist go hog wild when crafting erotically-charged dime novel-style fan fiction.

Perhaps this is a reflection of my limited imagination. Is Nataliya’s physique now the new Mount Everest? Are former Ms. Olympia contestants like Iris Kyle, Tina Chandler, Debi Laszewski, Anne Freitas, and Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia merely the tip of the iceberg? Previously, we may have thought of these ladies as being at the peak of the female muscle pecking order. But maybe our standards were set too low. Maybe women like Nataliya Kuznetsova (are there any others like her? Asking for a friend) are where the proverbial bar is now set. Or should be set. It’s not enough to train for a few hours, give yourself a couple of rest days, and intersperse within your daily routine plenty of Tupperware containers full of brown rice, grilled chicken, and boiled broccoli. Perhaps the new normal should be to train for several hours a day – as if it’s practically a part-time job – and eat as much protein as you possibly can without throwing up. This doesn’t sound particularly appealing, but one must suffer for one’s art.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 2

Nataliya’s quads don’t lie.

Hm. Maybe that’s exactly the point. One must suffer for your art. In Nataliya’s case, her body is her art. Her muscles are her canvas. Dumbbells, vitamin supplements, anabolic steroids, and protein are her paintbrushes. And her Instagram feed is her museum. And we are patrons of her art. Instead of sipping champagne, we down a carton of Muscle Milk. Same thing.

All bodybuilders are artists as well as athletes. They might consider themselves athletes first and foremost, and that would be their prerogative. But whether they consciously consider it or not, they’re also artists. Michelangelo used marble. Nataliya uses her own flesh and blood. That sounds odd, but it’s true. Bodybuilders don’t try to hit a baseball into the centerfield bleachers or dunk a basketball over a 7-foot tall defender. They try to look awesome, prioritizing muscle mass, symmetry, and aesthetic perfection over all else.

Yet, I’m perfectly fine with Nataliya being the exception and not the rule. She can be an Internet sensation who makes our eyes pop out of our skulls. She can be someone who essentially provides fodder for clickbait articles on second-rate news aggregate sites. I highly doubt female muscle fans worldwide are clamoring for more women to look like her. If more do choose to look as extreme as possible, so be it. But we’re perfectly content with more “conventional-looking” female bodybuilders (as contradictory as that may sound) such as Miss Popa and Miss Ivancik. At least, they’re conventional within the context of the world of female bodybuilding.

Here’s a question: Is Nataliya Kuznetsova good or bad for female bodybuilding and fans of female bodybuilders? It’s the question sports commentators always make regarding dynasties like the Golden State Warriors, New England Patriots, the UConn women’s basketball team, Alabama football, Manchester United, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe (ha ha). Is dominance a good thing? Can the lack of parity hurt the overall product? Or does it enhance it? Is temporary dominance – because dominance rarely lasts forever – actually a good thing because it provides an incentive for others to work harder in order to catch up?

Chances are she’s not going to have much of an effect on anything. Nataliya exists in her own little universe. She’s carved out her own unique niche. She doesn’t really exist in the realm of bodybuilding because she isn’t a competitive bodybuilder (to my knowledge). She’s a mini-celebrity whose body is her selling point. Her extreme physique is why she’s famous, not because she climbed up the industry ladder or won so many accolades that we cannot help but notice her. In a way, she’s the perfect example of how the entrepreneurial female bodybuilder is most likely the archetype that will survive the longest.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 5

Ever seen someone like this at the gym? Yeah, didn’t think so.

The bodybuilding industry’s marginalization of female competitors doesn’t need to be rehashed here. The death of the Ms. Olympia is really all you need to know. Wings of Strength is doing their best to resuscitate the spirit of the Ms. O, and we wish them all the best in this endeavor. Long story short, female bodybuilders need to find alternative avenues of earning an income in order to continue doing what they love to do.

Nataliya has done exactly that.

She’s found a void and filled it perfectly. Impeccably. She busted her tail to look as hypermuscular as possible. She knew not everyone would dig her look, but that didn’t matter one iota. There are plenty of people who will. And do. She’s made sacrifices – including long-term risks to her body – to achieve her Human Photoshop figure. She was able to go “viral” because she stood out from the rest of the herd. There are plenty of muscular women out there. But few are as surreal in their musculature as her.

So because of that, she was able to break through in front of more “mainstream” eyes because of her freakish physique. Cindy Landolt or Minna Pajulahti are famous within the small community of female muscle fans, but Nataliya has been able to rise above that and attraction attention from non-female muscle fans. And chances are pretty good that for many people, Nataliya is the only muscular woman whom they care to follow on social media. She’s “famous” – in a 21st century viral Internet meme sense – for being a living and breathing statistical outlier, not because she happens to be a female bodybuilder who’s broken the mold of her predecessors and peers.

And that’s the meat and potatoes of our discussion. Miss Kuznetsova is nothing more than a freakish statistical outlier to the vast majority of Internet-savvy people out there. She won’t help the visibility of the female bodybuilding industry. She won’t hurt it either, but that’s beside the point. She’s a Human Island. A once-in-a-lifetime Black Swan Event. She’s like the people who love to follow Tiger Woods but couldn’t care less about other golfers.

There are golf fans. And there are Tiger Woods fans. And they are often not one and the same. Likewise, there are Nataliya Kuznetsova fans. And there are female muscle fans. And they are not necessarily the same thing.

Nataliya Kuznetsova 3

Can’t tell if those are her quads…or an actual tree trunk.

Some people love Eminem but don’t particularly like hip hop. Some people loved “The Dark Knight” but never read a single Batman comic book. And some people are enamored with Nataliya Kuznetsova but couldn’t identify Alina Popa in a police lineup.

Life is funny like that.

Whether you love her, hate her, or have neutral feelings about her, one thing is certain: You’re totally justified to initially think that this woman couldn’t possibly exist. This has got to be like “Simone,” that 2002 Al Pacino movie about a movie star who’s digitally animated and isn’t really real. Certainly Nataliya has got to be a digital avatar, right? A fake persona meant to punk all of us into thinking a woman could genuinely build muscle mass that male bodybuilders could only dream of? Well, the truth is that she’s real. Very real.

I have no idea how long she can maintain her physique. I’m not a nutritional scientist or biology expert, but it seems reasonable to worry about her long-term health. All that animal protein, steroids, and hormone-blocking drugs can’t be good for you. Years and years of living like that should eventually take its toll, right?

Eh. Maybe, maybe not.

For now, let’s just appreciate who she is and what she’s been able to accomplish thus far. Only time will tell as to how much of an impact she’s making on the visibility of female bodybuilders, if any at all.